Updated: May 8, 2019
By Elizabeth B of Shields High Macedonia
In May of 2018 a group of 12 cyclists and 8 support staff prayed, pedaled, and served through North and South Carolina for the youth of Macedonia. A year later their sacrifice is making an impact on not only the youth but also on those who are serving them!
When I was in 10th grade, I enrolled in a 3 month course for first aid and emergency aid. The day after I received my certification my Father had an unexpected massive heart attack at our home. I knew exactly what to do without doubt or fear and - at 15 years old - was able to help sustain my Father until the EMS arrived. (Yes, 35 years later, my Father is still here - by God’s grace!) It was this experience from my past that gave me a fire to assist the group leaders and orphans at the “Twenty-Fifth of May” become officially certified in first aid.
Shields High Children’s Homes is a private, non-governmental organization (NGO) with a mission to lead orphans into becoming men and women of strength, integrity and character. Our vision is to build private homes in Macedonia where we can raise the orphans without the oversight of the “Twenty-fifth of May” which is a state-run institute for orphans. However, until we are able to build the homes, Shields High is thankful to conduct its unconditional love, service, and programs to the orphans serviced by the “Twenty-Fifth of May” as if they were our own.
The orphans in the “Twenty-Fifth of May” are distributed to individual homes; with anywhere from 3-6 kids per home ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old. There are about 6 group leaders in each home working 3 different shifts.
Not long ago I learned that none of the group leaders for the “Twenty-Fifth of May” were certified in first aid or emergency aid. (I was shocked at this - but not really.) For the sake of all the kids at the “Twenty-Fifth of May”, I decided to create a special seminar on first aid and emergency aid. The seminar was for all the group leaders and the older orphans (15-18yrs). Shields High partnered with LinkAcross, an NGO here in Macedonia who brings medical service training and doctors from the USA to Macedonia. LinkAcross provided the Macedonian Pediatrician to lead the seminar and also the up-to-date reference manuals which were all translated into Macedonian.
The first seminar took place on April 11th. Half the group leaders attended (17) and one youth attended, her name is Nafia. Nafia is 15 years old and has been very close to me since I moved to Macedonia over 5 years ago. For the past 2 years she has said she wants to become a pediatrician. She was shocked to learn about my first aid experience with my Father when I was her age! I invited her to be the first youth to attend this new seminar and become certified. Nafia and I were blessed by Doctor George, the pediatrician who led the seminar. While speaking with him, he offered to assist Nafia with interviews, have her visit his pediatric office, and she may possibly participate in an internship in his private pediatric group! Nafia has her first interview with Dr. George this week (May 2019)!
Having Nafia at the very first seminar sparked a series of positive events in her life that I pray make a lasting difference in her life. You see, Nafia is not only an orphan but her ethnicity is Roma - an ethnicity that is largely separated from society in Macedonia. With her current schooling and new opportunities with Doctor George and his team, God is bringing people into her life to help her along with me! Many prayers being answered! Nafia is encouraged and motivated to move forward!
The group leaders have been very happy with the certification saying it gives them confidence when dealing with the kids. It is also a great comfort for them in knowing they will be able to use these skills to help their own family, friends, and others in their communities.
The next seminar on first aid and emergency aid is May 28th and Nafia will assist during the seminar as one already certified! There will be other orphan/youth attending along with the other half of the group house leaders. Soon all the group leaders at the “Twenty-Fifth of May” and the older orphans who attend will be certified in first aid!
---All Glory to God